Thank you for joining in to this week’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. We have a great conversation today with Executive Pastor Luke Erickson from Mountain Christian Church.
Mountain Christian Church was founded in 1824 and went multisite 10 years ago with four campuses in Maryland.
Almost 50% of all multisite churches don’t get beyond two locations. Luke is with us today to talk about why Mountain Christian Church was able to move past that barrier and the changes they had to make to get there.
- Be committed to becoming a multisite church. // Mountain Christian’s commitment to being a multiplying church is what moved them not only to consider multisite as a strategy, but also to keep launching new campuses, rather than stop at one or two. This vision is what Mountain Christian cast to their staff as well as their congregation so people were prepared to carry the mission into each campus launch. Mountain Christian also wanted to develop a community center presence in the area by using the feedback from people in the area about what they were looking for. Ask what are the needs and opportunities in your area when considering launching a new campus. What is your community and neighborhood looking for if a church opened up there?
- Overcome the mothership dynamic. // When opening the fourth campus, restructuring was needed. As part of the restructuring, Mountain Christian Church changed some of the matrix structure they used in the campus leadership. At the beginning each team was a dotted line report to the campus pastor but a direct line to the ministry area, meaning that the team doesn’t report directly to the campus pastor but instead to the central location. The campus pastor was also wearing multiple hats, which burdened them with responsibilities that were more central in nature. When campuses are ready, change the matrix structure so that the campus pastors are empowered to really lead in their location.
- Ministry support team. // When moving from three locations to four, the main concept that needed to be developed was ministry support (a similar idea to central services as other churches call it). Ministry support became the central hub and all campuses, including the original, were the satellites coming off of it.
- Create the teams. // As Mountain Christian worked to define ministry support, everyone on the staff was assigned to a team: either part of the ministry support team or part of the campus team. Some are on one of the teams, others are part of both teams. Defining this structure helped to distinguish which responsibilities belonged to the campus and which belonged to ministry support.
- Improve communications between locations. // Among the things that didn’t work the first time, communications between teams needed improvement. Sitting down with the original campus pastor can help in understanding what is working and what isn’t, what ideas might be good and what ideas probably aren’t feasible. Some particular groups need more support and communication. Some of questions to think about are what is ministry support, where does it start and stop? What is the campus responsible for?
- Talk together about issues. // In working through issues with the campus staff on certain issues, the ministry support team meets with them and has conversations about what the issue is and gets their feedback. Discuss the issue together in order to uncover the right path. When creating a solution for one location, invite leaders from the other campuses to come and learn about it to see if it might work for them too.
You can learn more about Mountain Christian Church at mountaincc.org.
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